7 Afghan policemen poisoned, killed in the south

By the Associated Press | July 19, 2011 | 4:14 AM EDT

KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) — An Afghan official says seven police officers have been poisoned and shot dead at a checkpoint in southern Afghanistan.

Daoud Ahmadi, a spokesman for Helmand province, said Tuesday that the policemen were killed on Monday by one of their colleagues near Lashkar Gah. The city is slated to transition to Afghan-led security this month.

Ahmadi says the assailant escaped in a police vehicle loaded with weapons from the checkpoint.

Waheed Omar, a spokesman for President Hamid Karzai, said Monday that militants are launching attacks in the seven transition areas to try to disrupt the process for Afghan security forces to take charge by the end of 2014.

He argues that insurgents have been driven out of their strongholds and that their intimidation campaign does not mean they are powerful.